ecosystm JOHN KLIMA

ecosystm is a real-time representation of global currency volatility fluctuations, leading global market indexes, and up-to-the-minute weather reports from JFK airport.

Commissioned in 2000 by Zurich Capital Markets, an investment company based in New York, ecosystm takes data ZCM uses every day,  re-purposing it to drive a 3d environmental simulation viewers explore using a joystick.

ecosystm consists of flocks of "birds" (each flock representing a country's currency) and branching "tree" structures (each tree representing a country's leading market index).  As a market index advances, the tree grows new branches.  If the index declines, branches begin to fall off the tree.  Similarly, a currency's current value against the dollar is indicated by an increase or decrease in the population of the flock.

The flocks also exhibit certain behavioral patterns determined by the volatility of their currency.  Volatility is a common financial analysis equation that examines values over time periods.  A currency is considered volatile when its value fluctuates considerably over a given period.  In ecosystm, daily volatility determines the territory the flock occupies.  If a currency is stable, the flock has an expansive territory and can fly throughout it in a graceful manner.  If, however, the currency is volatile, the flock becomes very "excited", and their available territory is considerably reduced in size.  In addition to this, a currency's daily volatility is compared to its yearly volatility, which in certain cases produces exceptional behaviors.  If the daily volatility exceeds twice the yearly volatility, the flock is "hungry" and it "feeds" on its country's leading market index (as represented by the trees).  If the daily volatility exceeds the three times the yearly, the flock becomes "aggressive" and attacks a neighboring flock.

As an added visual element, the current weather conditions at JFK airport determine the "weather" inside ecosystm.  Runway visibility and cloud cover directly effect visibility and cloud layering in ecosystm.